Campaign underway to educate rural landowners about fireworks



By Ron Giofu


A pair of local residents are trying to educate people about safe and considerate usage of fireworks.

Rosemary O’Connell, the former owner of Nova Equestrian Centre, and Randy Fasan, who owns horses at his Concession 6 North home as well as operator of Back ‘n’ Time horse drawn vehicle service, have teamed up to try and encourage people to be careful and courteous when setting off fireworks.

“We’re trying to educate people to be careful around fireworks,” said O’Connell.

O’Connell said horses and other animals can be startled by the noise. She added that a potential fire hazard can be created as sparks can fly through the air and land near dry grass, crops, hay and barns.

“It just takes a spark near a barn,” said O’Connell.

Fasan, a retired Windsor firefighter, said of the campaign said that they are trying to simply let people know some safety tips and that people around them could be impacted.

 Rosemary O’Connell and Randy Fasan are asking that people be safe and be courteous if they are setting off fireworks.

“It’s basically trying to make the public aware and to be considerate of people who have livestock,” said Fasan. “It doesn’t have to be next door. It can be half a kilometre away.”

Fasan agreed with O’Connell that errant sparks can potentially land in dry grass and fields or near old sheds or barns.

“If you are going to do fireworks, just be considerate and go talk to the neighbours,” he said. “All it takes is one spark to land in a dry pile of hay.”

Not only can horses and livestock be scared by loud fireworks, dogs can also act abnormally when fireworks are being set off, he added.

Tips that O’Connell and Fasan are sharing include making sure people have a large, clear space to set up fireworks, check the wind direction and speed before setting off fireworks near farms or stables, follow the safety distance directions printed on the fireworks prior to lighting them and to notify barn owners and neighbours beforehand so animals can be safely secured before the noises start.

O’Connell said she was inspired to start the campaign after the barn fire that killed 16 horses at Sunnybrook Stables near Toronto in May. Fireworks had been a suspected cause but was has not officially determined as such.

“We’re not against fireworks and the fun of it,” she said, adding they are trying to be positive and simply conduct a public awareness campaign.

There were cards printed with fireworks safety tips on them that have been dropped off at veterinarian offices, horse barns, dog groomers and have even gone as far as London and Guelph.

Fasan added animals can be startled by the simplest things and that they are encouraging people to simply let their neighbours know if they plan on having a fireworks display.

“Be aware, be considerate, be knowledge and be safe,” he said.

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